2015 ►JAINA Convention Papers ►Samyak Ahimsa

Posted: 17.05.2016

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JAINA Convention 2015

Experience the World of Non-Violence


Samyak Ahimsa by Pujya Gurudev Shree Namramuni Maharaj Saheb

Every mother nurtures her child with values and ethics from a very young age. This upbringing plays an integral role in shaping her child's belief and molding his thought process.

Being the blessed descendants of Bhagwan Mahavir, every parent wishes to instill in their child a heart with Ahimsa and Compassion at its core. Hence many of us have often heard words of advice from our parents and well-wishers like, "Dear, don't step on an ant. It will die and you will commit a sin (Paap) which will take you to hell (Narak)."

Is this advice good or correct? The guidance s correct but only the partial sentence is valid, "Don't step on an ant. It will die" Now think about it, is the perception and intent in the rest of this statement appropriate? Not stepping on an ant because it will die stems from a feeling of compassion; but not stepping on an ant because the sin will take you to hell is misleading. It implies that we are not killing an ant because WE will have to suffer thereafter. If the same action promised us heaven, we would be ready to commit that action irrespective of the ant's pain and suffering.

Guiding a child and advising him is essential, but the advice should be such that it nurtures his wisdom. When you instill in him the right perception behind any activity, he will automatically refrain from doing anything wrong since he knows the negative impact of that action. But when you instill fear in his mind towards a particular action, he will refrain from performing that action until the time that fear overpowers him. The moment that fear vanishes, he will not hesitate from doing that action again. Hence, what is more advisable, not to do something for the fear of suffering in hell or to refrain from doing something as it causes pain and agony to another living-being?

Not killing an ant is Ahimsa (Non-Violence}, and Ahimsa is the cardinal principle of our Dharma (Religion).

When we perform Dharma with selfish motives, it can only help us to accumulate good Karmas but it can never be instrumental in purifying our soul by annihilating our Karmas. Only when our actions originate from our compassion, our virtues and our selflessness, they become Dharma in the true sense. Because Dharma s not merely any action, it s essentially the intention of not hurting anyone's heart, not inflicting pain or sorrow on anybody else through that action. We have been brought up with the values that killing an ant will take you to hell, hence, we fear violence. Had we been nurtured with belief that sacrificing a life will give you heaven, we would not have hesitated in doing that as well! It is when your heart gets connected to Dharma; your inner self helps you distinguish the right from the wrong. When the quality of Ahimsa evolves from within, your Dharma will be everlasting and your vision will be Samyak in nature (Right Vision).

When one gets scared of sinful acts by nature, he abstains from performing wrong actions because he has the vision that such actions are harmful to others as well as him. "How can I do something which inflicts pain upon somebody else?" It is with this compassion and vision that he renounces Paap. Such a vision is worthy of great Respect. And the Ahimsa arising from this vision is Samyak Ahimsa. Thus, only the one who intuitively fears wrong actions rather than his own suffering or pain and who is intrinsically apprehensive of Paap by nature is a Shravak (Layman) in the true sense.

We have practiced Dharmik (religious) activities in innumerable lifetimes, what is astonishing is that we have even adopted Diksha (renouncing the world) several times. However, even then, we aspired to liberate ourselves from the sorrows of this world and experience infinite bliss in Moksh (Liberation). That means that we adopted Diksha also for our own Swarth and happiness, to free us from sorrows. Where there are selfish desires (Swarth), Dharma can never exist. Adopting Diksha was a right action, but the intention behind this action was wrong, and the motive of Diksha itself was flawed. Living a selfless life devoid of any violence is the real aspiration for attaining Moksh. Because in Moksh, there is no Body and in the absence of a body, I can never perform any violence. This, is the true goal behind aspiring for Moksh - not because I want to be happy; but because I don't want to be the cause for anybody's grief.

Going to hell will give me pain and sorrow, is my fear for Dukh. It is called Dukh Bhiruta. Dukh Bhiruta is Mithyagnan. And the Ahimsa arising from Dukh Bhirtua is Mithya Ahimsa. On the contrary, fearing wrong actions because others are pained by it is called Paap Bhiruta. Paap Bhiruta is Samyakgnan. The one who becomes Paap Bhiru by nature, abstains from performing wrong actions because he has the vision that such actions are harmful to others as well as himself. "How can I do something which inflicts pain upon somebody else?" It is with this compassion and vision that he renounces Paap. Such a vision is Vandaniya. It is worthy of great respect. And Is Samyak Ahimsa. Thus, only the one who intuitively fears wrong actions rather than his own suffering or pain, who is intrinsically Paap Bhiru by nature, is a Shravak in the true sense.

Parmatma therefore explains that performing Dharma with the intent of getting Sukh or evading Dukh is never Samyak in nature. Practicing Dharma with an inner vision of "Sarva Jeev Mama Jeev Sama" is the true essence of Ahimsa. This means that every living being is akin to my soul. Just as my life is invaluable to me, their life is also dear to them. And thus, I don't want to give them any pain, I don't want to be the cause of their suffering.

Majority of the people understand and know Dharma with the activities and traditions it entails. But Dharma does not have a connection with the actions you do, it is connected with the emotions and intentions underlying those actions. A doctor is equipped with a knife and so is a murderer. The action is the same, but the doctor's intention is to save a patient's life; while the murderer intends to kill the victim. Your actions and the reactions to these actions, "Your Karma", are always dependent on your intentions. When your intentions are positive and selfless, you can advance towards Moksheven in this birth itself!

Empowering the youth of today to evolve their qualities, uplift their wisdom and purify their intentions is the proper way to guide them towards Dharma.

Today's generation gap results in a constant conflict of thoughts. The older generation's treasures traditions while the younger generation's looks for reasons and rationales. The differences in opinions compounded with the lack of proper understanding and knowledge often take the younger generations away from Dharma.

Inspiring the youth of today not just to practice Dharma, but understand its essence is the only way Bhagwan Mahavir's priceless legacy can touch their hearts. Make your children capable of discerning the right from wrong; broaden their minds with the Samyak vision of Dharma. And you will be truly surprised by their reverence and understanding of Dharma and their willingness to pursue the Truth!

 

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